If you group the Oscar wins, you will find a common thread. Leonardo Di Caprio’s performance in Revenant, Brie Larson’s in Room, Spotlight as best picture, and The Son of Saul as best foreign film all point to a noble theme: In the face of man’s inhumanity to man, woman or child, there is great dignity and empowerment in the humanity we can draw from the self.
In Revenant Di Caprio is driven to avenge the loss of his son who meant everything to him and ultimately transcends that final act. Spotlight exposes the contamination of children, a spiritual death, inflicted by the Catholic Church and uses pure truth to liberate and cleanse – not religion. Saul engulfed by constant death in Auschwitz is single minded in his purpose, risking his own life and those working with him, to bury with dignity a dead child who becomes his metaphorical son. And in Room Brie Larson confined with her son seeks to bring him as much happiness as possible sparing him the horror of their captivity until she can heroically make an escape happen. The message is that while the human condition consists of brutality and suffering, there is an amazing resiliency and purity to the human spirit.
Movies are a wonderful form of psychological therapy. In the span of a couple of hours you can resolve your own emotional issues or at least understand them better and come up with a few concrete strategies. When you watch a movie with a conflict and resolution, even if that resolution is tragic, you can learn from the experiences of the main characters how they cope or don’t cope. You wonder as you watch how do they handle the suffering? You wonder what you would do in a similar situation or a lesser situation of lower intensity. In addition, you might realize that you have it pretty good in contrast to the plight of Leonardo Di Caprio in a hostile landscape: Unfeeling, relentless and cold.
This year’s Oscar wins show us that life is a series of recoveries. You take a brief respite here and there, hold on to a happy moment, before you go on to face the next stressful event. Each stressor that you conquer makes you stronger and even more resilient to face the next. You learn that one moment can be bad, the next one better.
Here are ten questions to reflect to be more present in your “life movie”:
- Do you integrate your experiences and learn from them or do you drown in your experiences and suffer?
- Do you feel like you are right all the time, that you know the real truth, or do you listen without prejudice?
- Do you get along with the seasons or do you try to beat them, like beat the heat or flee the winter?
- Are you a “teacher,” playing the part of the expert or a “student,” ready to learn fresh, new things?
- Do you use words that shrink who you are, or expand who you are?
- Do you let yesterday dictate, or do you begin every day with a clean slate, and ready to find opportunities?
- Do you let others steal your precious time, or do you create time for yourself?
- Are you distracted, like when you drive, you don’t realize how you got there, or are you in focus?
- Do you gobble your food on the run, or sit down and slowly savor each bite?
- Do you replay negative self-talk, or forgive yourself?
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